OK, "Solitary" isn't entirely true. Yes, today (September 23) is my birthday but I didn't spend it entirely alone and I promise this won't be a melancholy entry. We all get older on our birthdays, not that there's anything wrong with that.
Hard facts first. Despite Mom and Stepdad going out of town, my Mom did call me today as she always does on her children's birthdays and in her egocentric, hypoctrical way reminded me this is also an important day for HER as she reflects on the many hours she spent in labor with me and that if it weren't for her, I wouldn't be here (when did we become a Jewish family?). I thanked her, hung up and left to join Mary and my favorite nephew who treated me to dinner at Chessecake Factory. Love that place. Calvin greeted me with a big hug and a homemade birthday card that I will treasure always.
The good (crazy?) people I work with at Alta View Hospital in Sandy, Utah had a cake for me today along with a signed card and lots of happy birthday wishes. Despite the low pay, this is the best job I've ever had and I've had quite a few in my life. Somebody better warn Henri not to look behind her! That's Brian with the knife. Katie is front row next to Henri. Back row (L to R) Kami, Ruth, Annette, Me, Jimae Kenney (Food Service Manager), Sara.
With Mom being out of town, my brother, Mike, four years my junior, invited me over to spend the night. He's the boomerang child who recently moved back home due to his overwhelming debt. Out of all my siblings, Mike and I have always been the closest and now that we're both adults we share an extra bond being the only two in the family not currently in a serious relationship or married with kids. We spent an enjoyable evening staying up till 1am talking, comparing notes on being nagged by the "old fogies" for circimstances over which we have no control and playing old school video games like MarioKart and MarioBros3 on the old NES and N64 systems.
Spending the night at my Mom's house also gave me the opportunity to practice the piano something I haven't done in well over a year as living in a 1bdrm walk-up doesn't allow room for an upright. One day my circumstances will change allowing me a place with proper musical accommodations. I was pleased my familiar Beethoven and Solfeggietto pieces were still there. Just like riding a bicycle. Rondo Alla Turca, on the other hand, was nearly nonexistant. I quickly gave up trying to remember the correct fingerings and went back to my favorite Beethoven Pathetique.
When I was studying organic chemistry (and failing miserably) I marveled at the fact that on a good day I could play the entire second movement of Beethoven's Pathetique from memory yet when it came to remembering all the steps to an Esterification reaction for the final exam, I choked. Didn't lead to acceptance at the University of Utah's College of Nursing, but I'm happy to report that I did retake the class and passed. Having a handsome German named Lars for a TA lab instructor that summer didn't hurt either! Ah, memories. The way he explained the chemical bonds, the "click" my brain made when it all suddenly made sense, the effort he put into making our labs fun and interesting, the light flirting I enjoyed every time he came near me, "Stop that, heart, he's married!" Who knew learning organic chemistry could be so romantic? Like Beethoven.
If Utah schools didn't suffer from such a lack of sufficient funding (and as a former Elementary Education major I feel I can speak authoritatively) and if today's curriculum hadn't made such a drastic shift from Kenntnis (hands on learning) to Wissenschaft (book learning) perhaps more people like me who struggled in Math and Science in grade school might've saved time and money taking those remedial math and science courses in college. What a difference having the opportunity to attend the U with it's state-of-the-art chemistry lab, having teachers like Professor Richmond blowing things up during lecture and enthusiastic aides like Lars who opened my eyes to what a fascinating subject chemistry can be. Our great nation needs to get back to that kind of teaching in its public schools. Science is a hands-on subject.
My birthday ended with the opportunity to attend a free showing of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the University of Utah campus. I wanted to compare it to the Utah Shakespeare Festival version I saw over the summer. I appreciated the different interpretation of tonight's performance but I'm a bit old school, some things just didn't sit well with me: the character of Bottom being played by a woman (her hammy performance did steal the show) the absence of the well known final lines traditionally spoken by Puck, "Give me your hands, if we be friends" and other lines, probably edited for time, the modern day costumes, but I can live with all that, I can accept those minor flaws.
I had to draw the line over the dual roles of Oberon/Duke/Titania/Hippolyta switching genders for the fairy royalty. Hearing Titania's famous soliloquies spoken by a male addressed as "King Titania" is just wrong while Oberon is one of my favorite Shakespearean characters and having all his lines spoken by a woman referring to herself as "Queen Oberon" made the whole performance fall flat. Luckily the Pyramus and Thisby play at the end made up for the dissapointments. At least it was free for U students and something fun to do to celebrate my birthday.
With each day, I'm glad I decided to change my major and return to school. I'm not bitter anymore about not becoming an elementary school teacher or a nurse or even a CNA. At last, at the tender age of 37, I feel like I've finally found my niche in life. For the first time in my life I'm free from being that contortionist I once saw in Vegas, forcing myself to fit in a box beyond my capacity.
I'm an English major-you do the Math.